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European Commission - Statement

Statement by Commissioner Thyssen ahead of International Workers' Day

Brussels, 30 April 2018

"Every year on 1 May, people all over the world celebrate International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day. What began as a yearly strike movement has developed into a public holiday celebrating social achievements for workers.

The first social achievement was the limitation of a working day to 8 hours. Since then, many more followed. But Labour Day is not only about celebrating achievements. It also serves as a reminder that a well-functioning social market economy is not a given and the rules need to be updated, in light of continuously changing technologies that impact our economies and societies.

This is precisely what we aimed for and achieved during this Commission's mandate: putting Europe's social dimension at the top of the agenda. In November 2017, the first Social Summit in 20 years took place in Gothenburg. There, the European Parliament, the Member States and the European Commission proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, a series of 20 principles and rights supporting opportunities for people to have access to training, education and lifelong learning; good working conditions and effective welfare systems.

Now it is time to make sure these principles and rights become a reality on the ground. At EU-level, we have already put several initiatives in that sense on the table. With our European Skills Agenda we want to make sure that people are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We have proposals to make working conditions more predictable and transparent, to make sure all workers and self-employed have access to adequate social protection, and to create fair and enforceable rules for mobile workers.

Delivering on the Pillar and its principles is a joint effort. We need everyone on board: Our Member States, the European Parliament, social partners, and last but not least civil society. I look forward to working with all of them to make sure that in the coming years, we can make clear that economic and social progress reinforce each other and that we have a reason to celebrate International Worker's Day."                         

For More Information

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STATEMENT/18/3571

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